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Maryland Bill Would Target PEPCO

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In Maryland, the legislature could vote next year on a bill that would force power companies to reach service standards...or lose money.

The bill being crafted by delegate Brian Feldman of Montgomery County would apply to all power utilities in the state, forcing them to meet service standards or see the rate they charge customers for power reduced. While all utilities would be affected, one is clearly being targeted by the bill...PEPCO.

Feldman is among the many state leaders who aren't happy with the utility after executives admitted yesterday that PEPCO ranks near the bottom among its peers when it comes to the frequency of outages in its system.

"It wasn't until this series of storms and the fact they were hauled in front of a commission in Baltimore as a result, that they conceded really for the first time that their performance and reliability performance is not up to snuff relative to other utilities in this region and nationally," Feldman says.

Feldman says current reports utilities must provide the state public service commission are lacking.

"Right now, there's a reporting requirement but there's nothing to measure that against. So there is very little the public service commission could do in terms of enforcement because there's nothing to measure that against," he says.

Feldman's bill is based on similar laws on the books in Texas.

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